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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 17: 29 Jan. 2023
Prose Poem: 264 words
By Kika Dorsey

Their Wings on Fire



The torch ginger blooms red in Costa Rica, and the red-leaf frog hides beneath a leaf, the red banana tree laden with fruit, and on the wooden table is a vase holding birds of paradise, their wings on fire.


I have come to Costa Rica holding a rusty penny where my third eye resides, fallen from every ghost’s hand, a gesture of abundance gone awry. This land is a land of water. I have known riches where the blue hum of streams transform to red where it spills like blood, and I have saved the pennies the dead have gifted me.


This land is full of rust-colored dogs. Their fur is short and smooth, and I place my palm on their foreheads and pet back toward their necks. At home in the North, a friend has a stroke, her brain bleeding, while here I answer to nothing and open a dam, the water dances away from walls, and the stray dogs come to me, then move away.


I have known loss, though the eternal blooming belies it, and I have known riches, though the rusty coin accuses me of being a miser. I have known homes, and I have invited the hounds into them.


For eyes to align themselves, they need to center on a point, which may be florid, or an animated body, or the moment before exchange, before the exhale, before you, its image the movement of warm colors, my rusty penny wide open to greet the living and the dead.

Kika Dorsey
Issue 17 (29 January 2023)

is a poet and fiction writer in Boulder, Colorado, whose poems and stories have been published in Freshwater, KYSO Flash, The Columbia Review, The Comstock Review, The Denver Quarterly, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and numerous other journals and books. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times.

She is the author of three full-length collections, Occupied: Vienna is a Broken Man and Daughter of Hunger (Pinyon Publishing, 2020), winner of the Colorado Authors’ League Award for best poetry collection; Rust (2016) and Coming Up for Air (2018), both from Word Tech Editions; and a chapbook, Beside Herself (Flutter Press, 2010).

Ms. Dorsey has a PhD in Comparative Literature, and she’s currently an affiliate professor of English at the University of Colorado and Front Range Community College. In addition, she works as a writing coach and ghostwriter. In her free time she swims miles in pools and runs and hikes in the open space of Colorado’s mountains and plains.

Author’s website: http://kikadorsey.com

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